Camera hijack software for real?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Peter Franks, Jun 11, 2014.

  1. Peter Franks macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #1
    I asked probably in the wrong forum before but listening to the news about the case that happened December and now it's happened again on today's news. First I'd heard about it.

    This has come up on the news yet again, and was wondering if anyone takes this seriously, and what preventatives are there? Other than taping up camera which seems a bit over the top.



    My main questions are...



    If you never use a cam, can you disconnect it?

    Can it only be done if someone has had access to your laptop?

    or

    Can it only be installed if you type password that comes up for installing software?

    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. stiligFox macrumors 65816

    stiligFox

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2009
    Location:
    10.0.1.3
    #2
    I can't answer the other questions, but yes it is possible to disconnect the camera. Unless you are super tech savvy there is no way you should it yourself.
     
  3. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #3
    It's an option if these hacks can be implemented without the owners knowledge. That's what I was wondering. Do we have to install by putting my password in or can it be done without that and user not knowing about it. If they can disconnect LED to tell camera is on, what can't they do?
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #4
    There have been threads about it from time to time, but nobody seems to get really worked up about it
     
  5. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #5
    Fair do. I must've read an over enthusiastic journalists' take on it I reckon. It was just something that'd never crossed my mind until that, and now obviously it's something else to worry about ....
     
  6. FoxFifth macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    #6
    I read one article that suggested black tape over the camera. I'm not worried about it but it's an option if you are (and can stand the look of the tape).
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #7
  8. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #8
    Camera hijack software for real?

    Thanks guys. Am I too paranoid. Do people actually tape it?

    Can anyone get access to the camera by hacks as opposed to physically handling the machine, as was discussed in media? Does it 'only' happen when someone has access to your laptop, Can it be installed without inputting your password like other software?
     
  9. chown33 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #9
    You'll have to point to a specific "media" article.
     
  10. ratsg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2010
    #10
    I am not a web cam user, and I have a small patch of electrical tape or blue masking tape over all the web cams I own/use.
     
  11. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #11
    Here's a detailed article from Ars Technica about RATters, it's from last year though. Since the release of Snowden documents Ars has also covered info about other entities controlling cameras & Mics in a slew of articles.
     
  12. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68020

    Mr_Brightside_@

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    Location:
    The 6ix
    #12
    I see this done a lot, but unfortunately it doesn't help my opinion of the people who do it.
     
  13. Peter Franks, Jun 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2014

    Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #13
    So basically, they don't need any physical contact with computer as previously stated, it's all remote, HOW do they get remote access? That's a scary article for many, I'm sure, but it doesn't tell you what you can do about it, just 3 pages of 'this is what they can do to ruin you, and it's perfectly legal'. Ridiculous! In fact how is that hack site itself even legal?

    PLUS, almost everyone on this site tells you that you don't need virus scanners, or anything for malware on a Mac. I hear it time and time again on this site from the experts. Surely, this proves otherwise?
     
  14. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #14
    I didn't read every word, but I didn't find any mention in that article about OS X or installation methods. Most "hacks" are achieved by gaining physical access to the computer to install the software, or by tricking the user into installing it. If it were happening to even a relatively small percentage of Mac users, it would be all over the news and this site.

    You can put tape over the camera if you want to, but your chances of anything like this happening on your Mac are so ridiculously remote that it's nothing more than a placebo. If you can't get peace of mind any other way, having a piece of tape on your Mac is a small price to pay for it.

    No, the article doesn't prove that you need any 3rd party virus scanners on OS X, as it doesn't even mention OS X. Clearly the article refers to Windows, since OS X doesn't have a registry.

    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 12 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). 3rd party antivirus apps are not necessary to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as a user practices safe computing, as described in the following link.
    Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.
     
  15. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #15
    It's not that hard, at least on my early 2011 MBP. I have the camera cable disconnected, the connecter end covered in tape, and tucked next to the logic board.

    See step 6 here: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBoo...2011+AirPort-Bluetooth+Board+Replacement/5131
     
  16. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #16
    To be clear, when I wrote "Mic" I meant microphone not Mac.

    The Ars Technica link I posted earlier was a general info article about RATs in answer to the OP's question.

    I remembered reading an Ars article about hacking Mac cameras last year, the link to the December 2013 post is here. Basically, researchers at Hopkins were able to create a software hack on older MacBooks which could bypass the hardwired LED camera light activation. It was not tested on recent Macs.

    All of GGJstudios security info is gold. Keep the Mac software up-to-date. But if the OP is still concerned, tape a little cardboard dot over the camera.

    I think it's sensible to keep up with various security articles. Another thing people don't generally think about is the microphone. Look at the announcement made recently by Facebook about updates where their app will use the mic to listen to the background sounds to improve the user experience and feed targeted ads. Yay.
     
  17. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #17
    Hey GGJ, wondered where you were, thanks for your input... No that was an article posted by Crickett, the one I read was about the Macs, and how they managed to remotely disconnect the LED on the cam, so you were unaware it was on. But I daresay that the so called virus scanners out there 'for mac' wouldn't pick that type of thing up anyway. I was thinking back to your advice of not installing without putting in our password, and thought that that was safeguard enough, and not clicking on foreign attachments that we don't recognise. This remote thingy was all new to me and wondered how they could install without us putting in the password

    In all honesty, I wasn't concerned, until I read your article you posted! :cool:
    But thanks for your help... All info gratefully received. I'd never thought about it because I've never used the cam
     
  18. CrickettGrrrl macrumors 6502a

    CrickettGrrrl

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Location:
    B'more or Less
    #18
    I think it's all pretty fascinating really & a testament to human ingenuity. Things people said weren't possible a few years ago --we're now discovering are, and more.
     
  19. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #19
    I think it's just a clue for the designers to let you be able to disconnect cam and mic completely, until such a time that you need it.
     
  20. westrock2000 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    #20
    :confused: You think something is wrong with them for putting tape over camera?
     
  21. thekb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #21
    Exactly. As if they care at all what he thinks.
     
  22. satcomer, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014

    satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #22
    If you are this paranoid then think about the shareware Little Snitch. Just think it as a reverse firewall that reports all outbound network connections that you can control etc.
     
  23. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #23

    Missed this. Thank you.

    I don't know paranoid is the word. It made me wonder if I'm a tad naive though because it's something that'd never dawned on me until I saw these articles. It obviously goes on but would it go on to poach my work from known competitors who I know are on Mac, undoubtedly more clued up than I am and I'm sitting in front of that all day, either on the phone talking business or trying to get business via the MBP. Just a thought.
     

Share This Page